The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, has said that the AfDB is poised for what he called a massive investment in sport infrastructure in the continent.
Adesina said the continent “must have a profitable sports value chain.”
He added: “We have to export our talents. We need to have a profitable sport value chain. I think next year, there will be a massive investment in sports infrastructure across Africa because I think it is time for Africa to stop sending its talents away.”
The Nigerian was speaking in Johannesburg, South Africa, on the sidelines of the 2019 edition of the Africa Investment Forum (AIF), which was held from 11 to 13 November 2019.
“We need to create our leagues here” to also capture money from TV, radio and other media ads, the AfDB boss added. He revealed at the same time that basketball promoters “will create a basketball league for Africa like the NBA.”
According to him, in the thick of this undertaking is Masai Ujiri, a Nigerian basketball leader who is currently general manager of the 2019 NBA champions, the Toronto Raptors of Canada.
“It is really important in terms of job creation and youth engagement,” Akinwumi Adesina emphasised.
“We have athletes, people who can play. We are strong as Africans. You look at the United States, the people who play basketball and always win are Africans. Africans have the competence and ability to win. We must find Africa’s talents and make them profitable,” he said.
He went on to encourage Africans to believe in themselves and urged the export of the continent’s sports talent.
“We have to believe in ourselves, we have to create our own league. In the same way, we export raw materials, cocoa beans in Europe, it is the same thing that we must do in sport,” he concluded.
The inaugural edition of the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) was launched in 2018 by the African Development Bank, in partnership with Africa50, the African Import and Export Bank Afreximbank, the Business Development Bank, the Development Bank of South Africa, the Islamic Development Bank, the African Finance Corporation and the European Investment Bank.
This forum aims to raise capital for the financing of projects in Africa.